We finally received the invitation that I have been dreading ever since moving to New York: Dan's family's 83rd Annual Family Reunion.
(Seriously... 83rd. They have a president, secretary, treasurer, elections, a reunion committee... and I'M the weirdo from California? Hello, Pot? This is Kettle....)
Upon opening the envelope, my heart was struck with terror and I found myself frantically reading the invitation out loud, trying to make sense of it all. It was like trying to decipher heiroglyphs, or Mandarin, or some dead language that no one has ever spoken, EVER:
"Please join us on Sunday, July 17th, for the 83rd Annual Family Reunion. Please bring a dish to pass, your own table setting, and beverages. If you wish to participate in the white elephant gift exchange, bring a wrapped gift."
Me: "A dish to pass? A DISH to PASS? What does this mean?!"
I was feeling panicked.
Me: *practically hyperventilating* "I DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS!"
Dan and his mother were sitting in the living room, calmly watching me fall apart at the thought of coming face to face with all 900 of his hillbilly relatives at some state park somewhere in New York, where they gather every year for a day long feeding frenzy and refer to Lake Ontario as "the beach." (Newsflash: No salt water? No beach. Word.)
Dan's mom: "Just bring a dish to pass."
Me: "For what? Like a cake walk?"
Me: *head spinning like Linda Blair's in The Exorcist*
Dan: "What are you talking about?"
Me: "A dish to pass! Pass to who? Is it like a cake walk, only with casseroles? Do I have to do this?"
Dan and his mom: *blink* *blink*
Me: *realizing that I'm totally coming unglued but am incapable of stopping it*
Me: *practically shouting* "What kind of dish? What do I do?"
Dan's mom: "You bring something to share."
Me: "WITH WHO???!!!!"
Dan's mom: "Everybody."
(I give her mad props, by the way, for being so completely patient with me and not once calling me an idiot.)
Dan (who is burdened with no such patience): "What the hell are you talking about, Dani?"
Me: *stabbing at the invitation* "This! THIS! It says "bring a dish to pass." Do I buy a dish and, like, put something on it? Like cookies or something? Like a cake walk, only without cake? Tupperware? China? I DON'T GET IT!!!"
Dan: "WHAT are you TALKING ABOUT? Why are you freaking out about this?"
Me: "I DON'T KNOW! BECAUSE YOU HAVE 52 FIRST COUSINS! YOU PEOPLE HAVE NO SELF CONTROL!"
Dan: "Dani, it means make something, like lasagna or brownies, and bring it to the reunion to put on the table along with all the other food. It's like a potlock. People bring food."
Me: "But who the fuck am I passing it to??"
Dan: "No one! It's an expression! Bring a dish to pass! You're not passing it, you're putting it on the table along with all the other food! Jesus, Dani... haven't you ever heard that before?"
Dan: "Do you need a Xanax?"
Okay, I confess: Dan's huge ass family scares the bejeezus out of me. His mom comes from a family with 8 siblings, his dad from a family with 10. They're like the freaking Duggars, only without the matching home-spun long denim skirts, J-names, and bad hair. He has 52 first cousins and 7584938575 second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, infinity cousins, and they all... ALLLLLL... live within a 50 mile radius. They're all over 6 feet tall, and the thought of them merging together in one hungry, thundering herd all carrying dinnerware and covered dishes is terrifying to me.
I have four cousins. FOUR. We do not breed like rabbits, we do not congregate at parks, we do not pass dishes. We sit down at the table like civilized people and eat off of matching china, and we are never asked to bring our own silverware.
Or a freaking "dish to pass."
I'm trying to work up a good flu bug by Saturday, hoping to pass it along to Dan by Saturday night, thus getting us out of the reunion spirit by Sunday morning. I'm also practicing my mad Rain Dance skills, in case the flu bug is a no-show.
Dan finds it hilarious that I'm scared to death to go to this thing and isn't the least bit sympathetic. Once in a while he works up a little butt-hurted-ness and says, "Don't you want to meet my family?" to which I lie through my teeth and say, "Of course! Just not all in one day."
Personally, I'd like to have a bio of each one so I can read up on them, then pick a couple that I'm willing to meet and associate with, leaving the rest to go on without me. Since there are 900 of them, it's not like I'll be missed, ya know?
Dan thinks I'm rude and anti-social.
I think his family is too damn big.
Potato, po-TAW-to, yo.